May 122012

Removing the monetary monotony. And all the moaning.

I like playing Monopoly – but I don’t like messing around with the money, and the inevitable problems it causes. I find that some people become impatient and carry on with their turns while other players are still sorting out a property purchase, a rent payment, or whatever; the main hold up usually being to count out the money, struggling to find the right notes, and so on.

And if the impatient player’s move leads to another transaction, and the next player is also impatient, things can get out of hand.

When I play, I often suggest we speed the game up by not messing around with the cash: Don’t use the Monopoly money at all and, instead, whoever acts as banker should use a pen and paper. Distribute the initial cash for each player by simply writing down the amount of cash they are supposed to have on the paper, one column per player, rather than actually counting it out; add £200 to their total when they pass go; deduct the price of a property when they make a purchase, and so on. In other words, keep their money in a bank account! Doing things this way means each move will be completed in much less time, and players can concentrate on the game itself.

That’s Plan A which, unfortunately, generally doesn’t happen – so instead, I try to execute Plan B: Grab the dice after each roll, and keep hold of them until the move is definitely finished, and only then release the dice and allow the next player to take their go.

Paul Sprangers has come up with “Plan A version 2”, taking Plan A one step further, and written what he describes as “a brand new and probably completely useless program for RISC OS” – that program being MonopolyCal – a Monopoly Calculator.

MonopolyCal keeps a track of the “cash” held by up to six players, and enables easy transfers from one player to another (when rent is paid, for example), from the player to the bank (when buying a property or paying a fine) or from the bank to a player (receiving money for passing Go!). It takes away the tedious calculations and counting, not to mention the inevitable disputes about who owns the stray notes sitting between two player’s piles of cash. In short, it makes the game more playable, and much less tedious.

Paul adds “Until recently, I never wanted to play Monopoly. Since I created this calculator my children refuse to play. This is what we call: a win-win situation.”

Note: It’s possible to buy a modernised version of Monopoly, with updated properties (and property values) and in which, instead of cash, each player is issued with plastic cards. The amount of money the players have is stored on their card (well, it’s not – it’s stored in the calculator, which recognises which card is which when inserted by the position of a notch). It’s another Plan A variation, but not as nice a solution as MonopolyCal. (Not least because I’ve found the calculator doesn’t always recognise the cards).

 May 12, 2012  Posted by  Software Tagged with: , , ,

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